This fall, Stone Brewing Company released Southern Charred, batch number seven of their 2013 Quingenti Millilitre series. It features the 2012 vintage of Stone’s classic American strong ale, Double Bastard, aged in a variety of bourbon barrels — both barrels that once held their Suitable for Cave Aging smoked porter, and charred American oak barrels.
After working to get the cork out, Southern Charred pours a murky brown color, with a slight orange hue when held up to the light and almost no head. Your nose is greeted with plenty of bourbon up front, with aromas of candy sugar, cinnamon, and what can only be described as orange fruitcake also present.
Like the smell, the taste is dominated by bourbon. However, the smokiness granted to the beer from the barrels used is what really makes this beer interesting. These flavors combined with the generous but classified malt and hop bill of Double Bastard add up to liquid bread pudding, with plenty of vanilla and butterscotch. There are some tobacco overtones as well. With the expected lack of carbonation, this is one thick beer that coats your mouth and considerably numbs it as well.
Southern Charred is a real home run for Stone. It’s taken a while for them to bottle their barrel-aged offerings, but this was certainly worth the wait. Hopefully there’s many more in the future. Also released in the Quingenti Millilitre series this fall were Crime and Punishment, bourbon barrel-aged versions of both Lukcy Basartd [sic] and Double Bastard with peppers — from moderate jalapeños to extra caliente Caribbean red-hots — added.